Orecchiette with Spinach and Feta

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Orecchiette with Spinach and Feta

Orecchiette with Spinach and Feta is another one of those simple, 15 minutes to the table, delicious dinners. 

Orecchiette with Spinach and Feta

Ingredients

  • 1 pound orecchiette pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce, or the same amount of homemade
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, in oil, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives sliced
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag baby spinach
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Method

Step 1

Heat the marinara sauce in a large skillet. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and capers, if using; simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the cooked orecchiette along with the spinach. Simmer until the pasta is heated through and the spinach has just wilted about 3 - 4 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, taste and adjust seasonings (remember, the feta cheese will add saltiness to the dish). Place in large heated bowls; top with crumbled feta. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.


Behind the scenes of Orecchiette with Spinach and Feta

 

Orecchiette with Spinach and Feta served with red wine and bread

 

Orecchiette with Spinach and Feta is an easy meal that can be on the table in the time it takes to cook the pasta.  Lacto-Vegetarian as originally prepared, or add a sausage to make it a more hearty meal.  Add a green salad, like this easy Baby Greens Salad with a Light Balsamic Vinaigrette,  and dinner is done.

 

What is Orecchiette?

Orecchiette is a distinctive Puglian type of pasta shaped roughly like small ears, which begs the name (orecchio, ear, orecchiette, little ears).  They’re about 3/4 of an inch across, slightly domed, and their centers are thinner than their rims, a characteristic that gives them an interesting texture, soft in the middle and more chewy on the outside edge.  I think they work perfectly in this dish because the inside curve holds the sauce, cheese and added chopped olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers inside so you can enjoy the flavors with each bite.

If you want to make orecchiette from scratch, you will find that, while the basic ingredients are the same as most kinds of pasta, flour, salt, and water, the shape can take some skill to achieve.  I generally don’t have the time, or the patience, to make home-made pasta and find that overall I can’t tell the difference between fresh and dried, but if you want to make your own, go for it!

I think the best substitution for orecchiette would be medium shells.

So boxed or bagged?

 

Simple Ingredients

Orecchiette with Spinach and Feta is a flavorful combination of simple ingredients.  The orecchiette pasta, a simple marinara, either homemade or for extra ease, use your favorite jarred sauce; along with some flavor embellishment…sun-dried tomato, sliced kalamata or Italian cured olives, capers…tossed together with fresh spinach and then topped with feta cheese that starts to melt creamily over it all.  Very yummy.  Any of the embellishments can be omitted if you don’t have or don’t like them, but really, what’s not to like?

 

Orecchetta with Spinach and Feta served close up

 

As a variation, I wanted to add some sausage to the plate so I got some al Fresco chicken sausage made with feta cheese and spinach.

Perfect match, right?

I really like the al Fresco products. They are very low in fat, have great flavor and are already cooked, so all you have to do is heat them up.  The sausage was a nice addition. If you choose to add sausage and can’t find the Al Fresco brand, you could use a mild Italian sausage in its place, preferably made with lean turkey or chicken.  I personally wouldn’t use an apple chicken sausage as I think it would be too sweet and would not compliment the other flavors.

A simple grilled and sliced chicken breast would also work.

 


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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Heide M. on March 24, 2014

    Will have to try this recipe.

      Reply
    • posted by LindySez on March 25, 2014

      Hi Heide – I hope you do with or without the optional sausage it’s simple and tasty. Cheers ~ Lindy

        Reply

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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
    434
  • Protein
    15g
  • Carbohydrate
    69g
  • Dietary Fiber
    5g
  • Cholesterol
    17mg
  • Sodium
    1253mg
  • Fat
    11g (4g Sat, 2g Mono, 2g Poly)
  • Nutritional Information is provided so you have an idea of what you are eating in terms of fat and calories but may not be balls on accurate.

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